Who Am I?

Justin Birckbichler (@Mr_B_Teacher) and Mari Venturino (@MsVenturino) recently started a new slow chat on Twitter entitled #Teach20s.  Last week we focused on Personal Identify Statement.

This week we were asked to explore our Professional Identity. This is a more challenging task since my Professional Identity has grown and evolved over the course of my career. When I was 23 and a new teacher, my focus revolved around Classroom Management and learning new content as I was teaching.  I was energetic and optimistic. I volunteered for every extra curricular opportunity that was available. I was selected for various training opportunities and committees; I was dependable and eager to please.

My Professional Identity changed when I became a mother. It wasn’t until I had my son, and began leaving him in daycare that I understood the importance of trusting and believing in the person who is caring for your child. I began to understand the parents who questioned me about having “children of my own”. I have changed how I interact with my students. I think about how I would want my son’s teachers to speak to him. I “get it”.


I decided to reflect on what I am doing in my classroom this year that has altered my Professional Identity. This year will be known as the year of Twitter. The resources and learning opportunities that I’ve gathered since June have culminated in the classroom that I’ve created this year. My students and I are eternally grateful!


My Professional Identity Statement:

I am Teresa. I create a learning experience where ALL voices are heard and valued. I embrace mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow. My students explore their passions and take risks knowing that I am there to support them along the journey. We challenge each other in an effort to become our best possible self.

I am once again excited for the new adventures that await me and my students. We are on a journey together and we embrace each day as an opportunity to learn something new. 



Bedtime Stories

Day 11: publishing based on a prompt

This assignment was more challenging than I envisioned. I scrolled through the suggested prompts at least ten times. Now I know how my students feel. I looked at each prompt and thought, “Seriously? This has nothing to do with me” or “How am I supposed to write about that?”

Thankfully I found a prompt that asked me to think about a bedtime story and its influence on me.

Rather than focus on myself, I am going to turn my energy to my son.

One of my favorite parts of my day is getting to read with my six-year-old. He has quite an eclectic collection of favorite books.

He enjoys the strong characters who face off in battle, the silly characters who never seem to learn from their many mishaps, and the “educational” books that teach him a lesson. My son loves hearing the daring adventures and the silly tales. I enjoy listening to him as he predicts what will happen next. I love that he challenges the characters and wonders “why”. As a parent this makes me proud. As a language arts teacher, I love the rich vocabulary and varied sentence structure that these stories provide. (I’ve even been known to use them in my classroom.)

I look forward to spending countless hours lost in books with my son. Each story provides an opportunity to learn something new


Collaboration Time!

Rather than make a resolution I was not going to keep, I decided to choose a word that would permeate my personal life and educational endeavors. My 2016 word…


I am pleased to say that I have been very diligent in focusing my efforts in this area. During the first 8 days of 2016 I have:

  • participated in new chats on Twitter
  • grown my PLN by following new people from various fields
  • collaborated with two of my colleagues on two different projects

Yesterday was an amazing day of collaboration at IMS.  My morning began with a great conversation with Jody Green (@peerlessgreen), our Tech Coach.  I needed additional support with resources for our 6th grade Project Based Learning (PBL).  Jody provided numerous resources, and helped me focus on the crafting of the various lessons.   We discussed multiples ways I could share the lessons with the team of teachers. After discussing the options, we decided that lessons will be created using various media. With multiple options, each teacher could choose the lesson format that will meet the needs of their students.

The afternoon was spent working with Brenda Valencia (@mrsvalencia201) and her class of 6th graders. Both of our classes are working on creating websites and blogs.  Since her class began the journey first, her students taught my students how to customize a website. It was wonderful to see the students in charge of their learning.

My students love having control over their site, and I love seeing each student’s personality in their creation.

I am thrilled to be collaborating with both Jody and Brenda this year!  I understand the importance of working with others, and want to extend collaborative efforts to other members on my grade level team. Brenda posted this quote on Twitter recently, and it is perfect…


Yesterday was a great day to learn something new!

Let’s Try Something New…

Blogging 101-today’s assignment: “new-to-you” element.  Well, it’s ALL new to me.  I managed to figure out how to get a picture in my post (I realized that it works best when I’m on my iPad since my schools pictures are stored there). Tonight my plan is to embed tweets to share the excitement from earlier today.

Here goes…

My colleague, Mrs. Valencia, and I spent our Winter Break learning and sharing resources on Twitter. We both joined Professional Development sessions on Voxer, and engaged in wonderful discussions on a variety of topics. One of our topics focused on blogging. We knew that we wanted to have our students write blogs, but neither of us knew where to begin. At the conclusion of the session, we had a plan. Today that plan came to life.

Mrs. Valencia could hardly contain her excitement. Her students began to build websites that surpassed her expectations. I could hardly wait to get in her room and speak to the students firsthand.

Then it hit me-our classes should collaborate! Teachers don’t need to tell if students can show.

Mrs. Valencia loved the idea of having her students work with my class. I immediately shared the news on Twitter. First, I shared on my account.

Next, I switched the class account to share the news.

My students are extremely excited! I can hardly wait until our classes can join in a discussion about how to build a website.

Friday will definitely be a great day to learn something new!



Blogging 101: Let the Adventure Begin

Good evening!  My name is Teresa Lee, and I am a math and language arts teacher from California.  This is my 19th year teaching middle school, and I am loving the changes that have happened in my classroom this year.

My students and I have started Genius Hour and we are having wonderful results. As part of the Genius Hour process, the students are expected to blog about their project and share their project with others. I am a firm believer in never having my students do anything that I would not be willing to do myself. That is why I am here today.

The purpose of this blog is twofold: 1) share classroom projects and day-to-day events and 2) reflect on the teaching/learning in my classroom. My first two posts came pretty easily since they focused on reflection. I stalled on classroom projects and “sharing” for a variety of reasons.

I am participating in this Blogging 101 session so I can improve as a blogger, and so I can become more competent when I am working with my students on their blogs.

I am excited to begin this process. I look forward to connecting with other bloggers so I can learn from their expertise.

Today is a great day to learn something new…


2016: My One Word

As 2015 came to an end, everyone on social media began to focus on resolutions for the coming year. Personally, I don’t make resolutions. Why? I never keep them. Sad, but true.  After participating in #lhcsdchat I realized that I wasn’t alone.  Many of my colleagues were in the same boat. We vowed to set personal and professional goals and to hold each other accountable.

Although I am opposed to resolutions, I did start thinking about my goals for 2016. Reinvent. Explore. Grow. Collaborate. I realized that these are all possible, yet in isolation difficult to obtain. Then it hit me: #myoneword:


The last half of 2015 was focused on making changes. Changes in both my personal life and in my professional life. It was at this time that  I truly embraced Twitter as a means to grow as an educator. Prior to June I didn’t realize its value. Now it has become an invaluable resource.

Twitter has become a part of my classroom life this year. My 6th grade students and I have a class Twitter account so we can share our learning. Although it is still in its beginning stage, you can follow us @imsknights210 and using #tbhhonored (language arts) and #210scholars (math). The hashtags were chosen by my students since my goal for this year is to have a student-driven classroom.

My focus for 2016 is to Connect.

Connect with other educators and grow my PLN through Twitter and Voxer.

Connect with educators in my district and at my site.

Connect with family and friends.

2016 will no doubt bring many opportunities to learn something new